Irakli Kobakhidze, the newly appointed Prime Minister of Georgia, on Monday named his deputies and the new Head of the Government’s Strategic Communications Department, while highlighting the “absolutely realistic ambition” of ensuring the country's “leading position” in combating corruption.
In his first Government meeting, Kobakhidze announced Levan Davitashvili, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, would serve as his First Deputy, while Thea Tsulukiani, the Minister of Culture and Sport, and Irakli Chikovani, the Minister of Defence, would assume the posts of deputies.
In other changes, Mikheil Peikrishvili will replace Nino Giorgobiani as the Head of the Strategic Communications Department, the PM said.
Praising the country’s “commendable results” in combating corruption “as evidenced by a number of international studies”, Kobakhidze stressed he aspired for more “ambitions goals”.
Our successes in combating corruption are notable, yet I advocate for even loftier ambitions. We must strive to stand at the forefront of anti-corruption efforts worldwide, a goal well within our grasp”, he said, and stressed “what matters most is our unwavering dedication, principled approach, and tireless efforts - all qualities abundantly present within our [Government] team”.
The PM further highlighted his office “must lead by example in terms of transparency and accountability," and stressed “every decision made should be transparent to citizens, setting a standard we expect from all state agencies".
Responding to ongoing job-related protests by employees of Tbilisi-based Republican Hospital following the Government's decision in January to dismantle the building for construction of a modern clinic in its place, Kobakhidze pointed to the necessity of “active consultations” with specialists in the relevant field, doctors, and the hospital team “to arrive at informed decisions”.
In comments on landslides and damage caused by adverse weather in western Georgia over the recent weeks, the official stressed the damage caused last week had been assessed and documentation was being prepared to issue compensations to respective families.
Professionals have pumped out standing water in over 300 of the approximately 400 residential houses that had been flooded, with 296 families relocated while awaiting the final report, adding resources from the central budget would be allocated “if necessary”.
Reiterating his condolences over the death of 14 people in the disaster, Kobakhidze said he had visited the disaster site and observed the “swift response efforts” by both state agencies and local Government representatives.
He stressed electricity and natural gas supply had been “quickly restored” to hundreds of affected villages, with highways “promptly cleared” and traffic restored in affected sections.